tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN November 11, 2012 5:00am-6:00am EST
world. if israel does launch a strike against your country, what will your response be? iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad, at times combative. >> some of the behaviors of the united states in our region encourages extremism. >> surprising. how would you feel if one of your children dated a jew? and heated, especially when i asked him about basic human rights for gays. >> do you really believe that someone is born homosexual? >> yes, i absolutely believe that. an extraordinary hour. "piers morgan tonight" starts now. mr. president, welcome to new york. many americans see you as public enemy number one. how do you feel about that? >> the creator, the almighty, the most gracious and the most merciful. and good morning to you. i wish to greet all of the wonderful people of the united states and all of the people who will see your program. at the end of the day, if you do have personal animosity towards me, don't transfer that on to the rest of the people of the united states. we love the people of the united states and they also wish in return peace and stability for all of the world. >> the big catalyst for protests at the moment in the middle east was the video that was released which mocked the prophet muhammad. as a result, there was an attack, as you know, on the american embassy in benghazi,
libya. the ambassador christopher stevens was murdered. do you condemn the attack which caused his murder? >> fundamentally, first of all, any action that is provocative offends the religious thoughts and feelings of any people, we condemn. likewise, we condemn any type of extremism. of course, what took place was ugly. offending the holy prophet is quite ugly. this has very little or nothing to do with the freedom and freedom of speech. this is the weakness and the abuse of freedom and in many places it is a crime. it shouldn't take place and i do hope that the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold
holy. but we also believe that this must also be resolved in a humane atmosphere in a participatory environment. and we do not like anyone losing their lives or being killed for any reason anywhere in the world. >> there are protesters all over the middle east now threatening the staff of american embassies, threatening to kill them, to behead them. will do you think they should stop? >> you see, i cannot determine what people or nations should do. but i do think that extremism gives birth to following in subsequent extremism.
perhaps if the politicians take a better position in the west, vis-a-vis offensive words or thoughts or pictures toward what we hold holy, i think conditions will improve. but most nations do not pursue tensions and conflict. >> what was your view, your opinion, of the arab spring last year? and what is your opinion of what is happening now in the countries where there were uprisings and we saw the end of gadhafi and mubarak and so on? >> i do believe that all of the world needs reform. the reform must take place everywhere. everywhere. even in the very same place that you and i are sitting. because still humans have not -- have not reached a degree of completeness. there have been a lot of strides made but hopes and aspirations have not been realized. in some places, reforms have
taken place and some sparks, as you said, we have witnessed but the desired point is still far away. >> you have often said that democracy, freedom, whatever you want to call it, is best born out of the people of the country, not from other countries interfering. we saw that happening in tunisia, in egypt, in libya. have you encouraged that? do you encourage the people of those countries to rise up and to protest? >> you see, for the people to rise up or to start a movement it's their on prerogative. we do not meddle or interfere in that. we believe everywhere justice respect freedom and friendship must prevail. >> do you believe fundamentally in a man or a woman's right to protest? >> yes.
it depends on the laws of any nation. all nations' laws are not equal. they differ. in most countries in one way or another this is allowed under the laws. but fundamentally, i do agree, certainly people must be allowed to express their own opinions freely. freedom is part of the essential rights of all nations. >> if that is -- >> no one has the right to take that away. >> if that is the case, why has the daughter of the former president of iran, why has she been imprisoned for protesting against your regime? >> in iran, there's only one regime so perhaps they're protesting against that. and in iran the judicial branch is not under the power of the
government, they have their own laws and that's what they follow. and we have no interference in that. and the government has paved the way for the highest form of freedom for all people, and you see that comfortably people criticize, people sometimes trespass the borderlines of proper protest, and they insult one another. as a president, i'm in the middle of the people of iran without drawing any borders, without drawing any red lines. and we converse. >> right. but this isn't just any protester, this could be your daughter in the future. she is daughter of your predecessors, the president. it's a fairly significant moment that she has been imprisoned. do you feel uncomfortable that this lady is in jail? >> you see, let's separate the two arguments, the two topics.
happy that anyone is going to prison? no. never. no one should go to prison. but also keep in mind that in any country every one must be treated equally under the laws. no one must have -- must receive special treatment because of having been a part of the power structure, regardless of whether the action taken that resulted in imprisonment was right or wrong. i'm not a judge of that. >> when we come back, i asked president ahmadinejad what it will take to stop the bloodshed in syria and you will hear his controversial views on 9/11. copd makes it hard to breathe,
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let's turn to syria. syria is a huge flashpoint at the moment in the middle east. there is a belief that a lot of the assad military are using weapons they've got from iran. is that true? and how long will you continue to support assad, given the appalling conditions, the humanitarian catastrophe that we are all watching? at what point do you, the president of iran, say enough of this violence? >> translator: i do believe that we must all say enough of this violence right now. six months ago i said enough of this violence. our opinion, vis-a-vis the issue of syria and other nations, is
completely clear. we do believe that freedom, the right to choose, the right to vote, respect and justice is the fundamental right of all people. all people must obtain these rights. no one has the right to restrict a people and nation, but we believe, as a friend of nations, we must help the nations around the world to obtain these rights through peaceful paths, through peaceful actions, and we have worked hard. i am now hard at work to organize a contact group in order to bring the two sides into a point of national agreement. >> but, mr. president, do you condemn the level of violence that president assad has brought against his people? because he has been slaughtering tens of thousands of syrians. if, as you say, you are a man of
peace and you believe in fundamentally someone's right to protest, this violence has to stop. have you told president assad it has to stop? >> translator: i am stating my opinion quite clearly. i cannot interfere in the internal matters of syria, but i can announce my opinions. and we are seeking an understanding. some have been working hard to supply weapons to the opposition. the government is also equipped to enter this conflict and based on the foundation that some pursue to resolve issues through military intervention, we completely oppose that doctrine and thought and way of doing things. we do believe that things must be resolved through dialogue without any outsiders' interference. many encourage these clashes.
many. and even i as a nation or myself as a president, i said to many countries directly that you are encouraging these clashes. that government is an independent government and it will defend itself. they did not accept this. some furnished weapons. and when clashes start, no one displays any mercy. they kill, the other side kills in return, and it never stops. >> is iran selling weapons to the syrian government? and if it's not selling weapons, are you aware of iranian weapons being given to the syrian government? >> translator: i believe that there are many ahead of line in supplying weapons to sides and it would never reach our turn. it's quite clear who those individuals are, who those countries are. >> were you pleased that osama
bin laden was killed by american navy s.e.a.l.s on the instructions of president obama? >> translator: i would have been happier to see a transparent trial, a formal trial, and find out the root causes of all of the events of the last few years. >> you have been reported as saying that you believe it is possible that the american government were partly responsible for the events of 9/11. that caused a huge outrage. do you stand by that position? >> translator: of course the polls taken inside the united states show that over 75% of the united states population are still somewhat nebulous about the real reasons of that event, of those events. what i said were a number of
questions. an event has occurred. due to that, two countries have been occupied, and the conflict still continues. every day hundreds of people in afghanistan, pakistan and iraq are killed. would it not have been better to have a more precise analysis and find out the true in-depth reason of the events of september 11th, make that -- make those findings transparent to the populations in the nations across the world, and then have a response in unison. of course, the expense would have been much less. do you know how much has been spent during the afghan and iraq war? >> a considerable amount of money. but let me ask you this, mr. president. if nearly 3,000 iranians had been murdered in the way that
americans were on 9/11, in tehran, how would you have reacted to the country that you believed had done that? >> translator: so you're saying that the country of afghanistan was at fault? was responsible? so you're seeing the responsible party as a whole nation? >> i think it is inarguable that al qaeda and osama bin laden's men who worked for him were training in afghanistan. so afghanistan was certainly knowingly harboring terrorists who were training to commit atrocities. >> translator: i believe that you can, under no circumstances, justify the condemnation and the attack upon a country in order to reach a single terrorist group, and i do believe that no matter how long you and i or other people speak, this is unexplainable. allow me to ask you.
do you believe that the various administrations of the united states were successful in eradicating terrorism? they haven't been. has the problem been resolved or has it gotten worse? >> well, it's hard to say. >> translator: the approach was wrong. formula was wrong. >> my answer would be, clearly, it was partially successful in the sense that al qaeda has been unable to commit another attack of that magnitude since. and again i come back to, if you were the president of iran and that attack happened in tehran, it wouldn't have been acceptable to your people for you to do nothing. >> translator: not at all. surely we would have pursued the perpetrators, not to seek an entire nation. but i ask you this. during the last ten years, during the last decade, how many american forces were lost and killed in afghanistan and iraq? even today, even right now, they're still losing their it wouldn't have been acceptable to your people for you to do nothing. >> translator: not at all. surely we would have pursued the perpetrators, not to seek an entire nation. but i ask you this. during the last ten years, during the last decade, how many american forces were lost and killed in afghanistan and iraq? even today, even right now, they're still losing their lives.
has the situation improved? clearly not. how can you say that it has improved? now the activities of the terrorists have trespassed into the borders of pakistan. in iraq and afghanistan, over a million people have been killed or injured. we are incredibly saddened that over 3,000 people were killed in the united states. the iranian government immediately condemned those brutal attacks. and i told you, we are against even the killing of one individual. why should human lives be taken, innocent humans, anywhere in the world? but in order to avenge the blood of 3,000 people, a million people shouldn't give their lives.
some of the behaviors of the united states in our region encourages extremism. perhaps because they don't know the people. so they do need to reform their behavior. there was no need for 5,000 or 6,000 u.s. young men and women to lose their lives. >> coming up, president ahmadinejad's provocative opinions on israel. he tells us what he really meant when he called for the country to be wiped off the map.
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let me turn, mr. president, if i may, to israel. you have been condemned very vociferously in america for a comment you are said to have made that you wanted israel to be wiped off the map, wiped off the face of the earth. there have been many different interpretations of what you said. you have disputed the meaning that was then translated from the original farsi. let me give you this opportunity to say exactly what you did say and to say exactly what you did mean. >> translator: we have been condemning the united states for
many things, for having deposed a dictator with a revolution, for having sought freedom and free elections, for not allowing our oil and national treasure to leave our country freely, for having stood up to very dangerous terrorists in the region, for having stood up against saddam hussein, who enjoyed the backing of many. we stood up against him and did not allow the occupation of our territory. we have been condemned for a great many things. because we said justice for all. the rule of law for all. the right of peaceful nuclear energy for all. >> do you want, mr. president, do you want -- >> translator: allow me, sir. allow me, please. >> the question wasn't any of that. the question was, do you believe that israel should --
>> translator: but i will get to that answer. don't be in such a hurry. >> should israel be wiped off the face of the map? is that your desire? >> translator: if a group comes and occupies the united states of america, destroys homes while women and children are in those homes, incarcerate the youth of america, impose five different wars on many neighbors, and always threaten others, what would you do? what would you say? would you help it? would you help that entity? or would you help the people of the united states? so when we say -- when we say to be wiped, we say for occupation to be wiped off from this world, for war seeking to be wiped off and eradicated. the killing of women and
children to be eradicated. and we proposed a way, we proposed a path. the path is to recognize the right of the palestinians to self-governance. allow the people of palestine to make decisions regarding their own future. imagine one day in palestine there is no longer occupation. occupation no longer exists in palestine. what else would there remain? >> do you believe in a two-state solution? >> translator: about the decision of the people of palestine i cannot express an opinion. that is their prerogative. but the people of palestine must be allowed by everyone and
helped by everyone to allow them, to give them the right to choose for themselves, to choose their own future. >> if they agreed -- mr. president, if the palestinians agreed to a deal with the israelis which recognized a two-state solution, would you then recognize the state of israel? if the state of palestine was accepted by the international community, would you accept a two-state solution? >> translator: but before that, allow me -- allow me to say something. i believe what is our common responsibility, all of humanity, must help to end and eradicate occupation, bullying. eradicate bullying. no longer impose or meddle in the internal affairs of anyone. there are about ten million -- there is a ten million strong palestinian population. we cannot impose our will on them.
allow them to choose for themselves. whatever their choice is, we cannot express or impose our opinion on them. but it's important for occupation to come to an end, for allowing occupation to come to an end so the -- >> i understand that. >> translator: -- people have the right to self-determination. >> i understand that. but if the palestinians were allowed to reach a deal, i'm assuming there is a deal, if they agree on a peace settlement, would you as president of iran recognize the state of israel? because that would be a very significant contribution to the peace settlement if you did. >> translator: i think there are many choices in question here. you seem to prefer only one choice, only one avenue, and want to ask me my opinion on that.
i do believe that, as a human being and as a political figure, prior to speaking about the construct of government, i must speak of the fundamental rights of the people. i say we must give the free right of choice and self-determination to the people of palestine. this is a much higher value, of much higher value, than what you are intent in hearing. we recognize that -- allow occupation to come to an end, allow the palestinians to be released from incarceration, allow the people of palestine to sit down at the table of collaboration and make their own decision. and you should respect that decision and we should do that as well. any decision they make for their own land, for their own country, not for others'. >> would you prefer -- >> translator: i don't want to sit here and make a decision for them. whatever decision they make we respect. >> coming up, things get pretty heated when i push president
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i'm don lemon. here are your head lines this hour. new details in the surprise resignation of david petraeus because of an extramarital affair. u.s. officials says the affair came to light because of an e-mail investigate by the fbi sparked by a complaint of harassing e-mails apparently sent by petraeus' auto biographer. nearly 280,000 people across the region still without power.
back with my exclusive interview with iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad. when it comes to asking him questions, there's no such thing as an easy answer, especially when it comes to the holocaust. do you believe that the holocaust happened? because many jews believe that you do not think it happened, and they have a view of you because of that.
>> translator: the historic event that you spoke of, i have two questions. i had two questions for quite some time, never received an answer to either one. everywhere they allow a certain amount of research, of looking into historical events. whenever there are obstacles placed on this path, then a question mark or two will arise. why such obstacles? >> what are the questions that you have about the holocaust? >> translator: why in europe has it been forbidden for anyone to conduct any research about this event? why are researchers imprisoned? >> there has been extensive research into the holocaust. it is indisputable that over six million jews were annihilated by adolf hitler and the nazis. the question is, do you dispute that 6 million jews were killed? >> translator: do you believe in
the freedom of thought and ideas or no? >> i believe in facts. >> translator: and the freedom of research, do you believe in that and allow that or no? >> i believe in all that. but mr. president -- >> translator: two times two equals what? >> that's not the question i'm asking you. you're a scholar. you're a very intelligent man. do you believe that 6 million jews were annihilated by adolf hitler and the nazis? do you believe that as a fact? >> translator: you pose a question and are willing to only hear what you want me to say. >> it's a simple answer. >> translator: do you want my answer or the answer that you want me to give? your opinion is quite clear. >> you either believe it or you don't. >> translator: your answer and your thoughts seem to be quite clear on the topic. why do you wish to impose your opinion on me? >> i believe it is an inarguable fact that 6 million jews were killed in the war by adolf hitler and the nazis. i'm merely asking you, as the president of iran and as a
scholar, do you believe that 6 million jews were killed by the nazis, or do you think that is not true? >> translator: so in other words, i must accept the premise of your question in order to give you the answer? that's a dictatorship, sir. >> no. you either believe 6 million jews were killed or you don't. >> translator: you asked me a question. >> the answer to the question, mr. president, is yes or no. >> translator: do you wish to impose your ideas? >> i'm not imposing any ideas. >> translator: allow me, sir. >> i'm not imposing any ideas. >> translator: so you see, what you're doing is you're -- is you're seeking a response based on my thoughts. why do you even care what the origin of my thoughts are? the result of the events of the second world war led to the occupation of a territory. >> the reason i care is because part of your reputation in america, the damage to your reputation amongst americans, is because they believe that you questioned the validity of the holocaust. so i'm simply asking you to
state very clearly and simply whether you believe over 6 million jews were killed by the nazis in the war or not. and the answer's either yes or no. it's not a difficult question. >> translator: i thank you for caring so much about me. and i do believe that it is commonplace for someone, for an interviewer, to pose a question and wait for the proper response to be completed. if you keep wanting to interrupt me, it's not an issue. it's your show, here you are and there's the camera. speak to your heart's content, sir. >> i will allow you to answer in any way you see fit. >> translator: you must not insist on receiving the proper -- what you see as the proper answer or behavior from me. i pass no judgment about historic events. i say researchers and scholars
must be free to conduct research and analysis about any historical event and have contrary opinions, pro and con. this should not have led to setting up of new confines and borderlines throughout the world and classify some as good, some as bad. why should a researcher be put in jail? one question. question number two, let's assume your parameter is right, your question is right. your assumption is that this event took place. where did it take place? who were the individuals responsible for this event? what does this have to do with the occupation of palestine? what role did the people of palestine play in this event? these are very clear and transparent questions, sir. the third question i have, if a historic event, if a historical
event has indeed taken place, why so much sensitivity surrounding it by politicians? >> if i may -- >> translator: this has already come and gone. >> let me move on. time is short. let me move on. >> translator: everyone knows the answers to these questions. >> time is short. prime minister netanyahu has been making it very clear that he believes iran is developing uranium now with the specific purpose not to help people with cancer, as you would say, but to have a nuclear weapon, and he is also indicating that israel may take some preemptive strike against iran. if israel does launch a strike against your country, what will your response be? >> translator: the response of iran is quite clear. i don't even need to explain that. any question and any nation has the right and will indeed defend herself. but my question is this --
why should the world be managed in such a way that an individual can allow himself to threaten a rich and deeply rooted historical ancient country such as iran, a great country such as iran, based on an excuse of his own fabrication? so anyone can do this. another country can say i am guessing that country b is doing activity x, therefore, i will -- >> do you fear -- do you fear, mr. president -- >> translator: -- attack that country. >> i understand. do you fear that war is imminent? do you fear that there will be military conflict, perhaps even before the end of this year, between your country and israel? >> translator: of course the zionists are very adventuresome,
very much seeking to fabricate things, and i think they see themselves at the end of the line. and i do firmly believe that they seek to create opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors. >> president ahmadinejad famously claimed there are no homosexuals in iran. what?! you've got to be kidding me. [ derek ] i've never seen a road like this. there's jagged rock all the way around. this is really gonna test the ats on all levels. [ derek ] this road is the most uneven surface, and it gets very narrow. magnetic ride control is going to be working hard. the shock absorbers react to the road 1,000 times a second. it keeps you firmly in control. whoa! [ male announcer ] the all-new cadillac ats.
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when people talk of freedom and i've heard you talk of freedom, they look at iran and there are still laws banning homosexuality. you have a law banning females going skiing on their own. what kind of freedom is that if they are gay, born that way, or they can't go skiing as a single woman? what do you say to the critics? >> translator: now you have managed to mix a number of things here. for a single lady to go on a trip to go skiing, is that -- is that forbidden in iran? who has told you that? >> it's not forbidden? >> translator: i'm hearing it
from you. >> it has been widely reported that you brought in a rule that said single women couldn't go skiing. are you now telling me they can? >> translator: i'm hearing it from you, sir, for the very first time. >> translator: i'm hearing it from you, sir, for the very first time. >> to clarify, mr. president, if a single woman from iran is watching this interview, she can go skiing on her own? >> translator: of course they see this program because it's broadcast in iran. >> right. so it is perfectly okay. you are happy -- >> translator: allow me, sir. >> for single women to go skiing? >> translator: homosexuality is completely different topic. this kind of support of homosexuality is only ingrained in the thoughts of hard-core capitalists and those who support the growth of capital only rather than human values. according to all prophets and all religions and all faiths, homosexuality is strictly
forbidden. it is a very ugly behavior. can you, in order to obtain four or five additional votes or to make a party more popular than the other -- how can you give -- >> do you believe -- >> translator: but when i say freedom. allow me, sir. allow me. >> do you believe that homosexual people, are they born homosexual or do they become homosexual? what do you believe? >> translator: they become at the end of the day, they do become that way. i'm not seeking the root causes of it, though. you see, the problems that are facing humanity today are much deeper than whether a single lady goes skiing or not. there are many reforms yet to take place, many reforms as of yet to be realized. in the united states, 50 million people live in poverty. is america a poor country?
they're human beings, too. each one of them is a complete human being are many hopes and aspirations and dreams. throughout the world, 1.2 billion people live in utter poverty. dictatorships do exist. oppressions exist. denying human dignity exists, unfortunately. all of this must be reformed. humans must feel like human beings. >> when i hear you say this, mr. president, i like you speaking like this. this is great. but shouldn't freedom and individuality and all those things also extend to people who just happen to be gay, who were born gay? they weren't made gay. wouldn't it be great for the president of iran to say, you know something, everyone's entitled to be whatever sexuality they are born to be. that would be a great symbol of freedom. >> translator: do you really believe that someone is born homosexuality?
>> yes, i absolutely believe that. >> translator: do you believe that anyone is given birth to through homosexuality? homosexuality ceases procreation. who has said that if you like or believe in doing something ugly and others do not accept your behavior, they're denying your freedom. who says that? >> mr. president -- >> translator: perhaps in a country, they wish to legitimize stealing. >> you are a father of three children. >> translator: a few percentage -- >> you have two sons and a daughter. what would you do if one of them was gay? >> translator: these things have different ways -- the proper education must be given. the education system must be revamped. the political system must be revamped.
and these must be also reformed and revamped along the way. but if a group recognizes an ugly behavior or ugly deed as legitimate, you must not expect other groups to give it the same recognition. this is an imposition of your will, sir. >> how would you feel if one of your children dated a jew? >> translator: i would have to see who that jewish man or woman would be. i see love amongst people as completely acceptable. there are many jews living in iran with whom we are very close. there are some muslims that marry into jewish families or marry christians. we have no such problems. >> people would be surprised -- people will be surprised you say that, mr. president. they will like you for saying that.
>> translator: of course, i think none of us should represent the whole population of the united states. but we believe that color, religion, native tongue, ethnic background should create differences or distances between people nor should it be the sole reason to bring people closer together. it has always been like this. >> when we come back, a question i can promise you mahmoud ahmadinejad has never been asked before. wait till you hear how he answers it. i ask every guest one question. i'm going to ask you. just because i'm amused by your response. how many times in your life, mr. president, have you been properly in love?
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i ask every guest one question and i'm going to ask you just because i'm amused by your response. how many times in your life, mr. president, have you been properly in love? >> translator: i'm in love with all of humanity. i love all human beings. >> that might be the best answer i've ever had. >> i love members of my own family, like any other human beg. >> that's the best answer i've